News

The Amateurs vs learning about Picasso

"In my opinion, though, it's more important that someone learn to make music, draw, photograph, write, or create in any form, regardless of the quality, than it is for them to understand and appreciate Picasso, Warhol, or Bill Shakespeare..." 

David Byrne writes the above quote in the fantastic thought piece, HOW MUSIC WORKS. Here, he talks about the need of amateurs to keep the arts vibrant, and more importantly, to bond a self healing glue for societies, with an emphasis on the disadvantaged.

At a certain point in the American industrialized education system, we abandoned the active creative arts, for art history.

The powers that be thought it more wise (and certainly less expensive) to teach an understanding of mostly Western Classical Art, than to let children create. Funding for arts programs plummeted all through the country in the last decade. 

But the creative act itself is the most vital. Art history and criticism is more the perpetuation of an elitist system created to worship monuments, over intuition.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've worshipped some of those masters works myself, but I would advocate for less worship, and more encouragement to the youth, who are seeking ways to figure out problems.

One of the best vehicles human beings "created" for problem solving, is art. And the evidence is clear that problem solving skills is an extremely desirable trait in industry now. So, if you want to give a gift to a child and an advantage, a nice pat on the back and a Beat Machine can go a long way.

 

leaving projects behind or always finishing.....

I recently picked up footage from a shoot we did over a year ago. We had some hiccups immediately during post, mostly because the world we were going to build in the box was a bit too complicated and time consuming without a larger team. This was an in-house production, so we aimed high, but the cost analysis did not add up.  A little after that realization we actually continued forward with some progress, but life got busy and other important priorities took over.

Now, this happens now and again. Personally, I just move forward without the burden of the past. If the ship is moving, why hit the brakes?

However, deep down, I'm often bothered by projects left to burn in their own ashes. Mostly because other people put in the time.

This is different than long term projects that are continuous and take time because of aesthetics, strategies or just out of necessities. I'm specifically talking about projects abandoned. Nine times out of ten, these are just scripts, treatments or half baked ideas that get pushed aside for newer scripts; but every once in awhile, its actually raw footage being tossed. You took the time to write something, got people together, and you shot the damn thing, and without any hesitation, you just threw it away. 

But here is where everything gets tricky. We are in the throes of "content world" now. Everything counts. The golden goose, and the piles of trash. They all have utility, serving the purpose of fulfilling the highs and lows of our culture. The stream of life is not historical. The origin story is now. Do you have enough material to feed this voracious monster?

With that in mind, I just salvaged some visuals locked away in harddrive hell.  Conceptually, the idea has changed, I'll be honest. But, the adjustment actually makes more sense now, since it's more in line with a certain creative process I'm dealing with, NOW.

Here is a still from the upcoming MIRS TAKE AWAY visual. The record is two years old and the footage, recently rescued from the depths of a harddrive in Burbank California, is over a year old. Who the fuck would know if I didn't say anything anyways.

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY



Running an experiment.....

I'm on day 13 of my single channel video work, DROPS IN THE STREAM. My web-host Squarespace is helping to trouble shoot a minor glitch in the page that I'm hosting my project on. It seems that the videos sometimes skip ahead or move around at odd times. The easiest fix so far is to go back to the previous video that skipped ahead, and play it again. However, it should be resolved shortly.

But, aside from this little UI blip, and the fact that a Youtube Channel and Playlist exist for it without any glitches(along with Tumblr), I am excited about its strange development. We got a long way towards our Dec 31st completion, so please subscribe here, or bookmark here

The original post with the only hint of info can be found here:


the future: a robot, the human....

Last night, towards the end of an intimate wedding, three men huddled together at the back of a fancy hotel courtyard, cocktails in hand, discussing THE SINGULARITY. An almost spontaneous conversation with very little pre-talk. Straight faced, and committed.     

Two days prior, in a small downtown bar, the patron and bartender sparked up several conversations. It was obvious that these talks happened quite regularly. As one conversation bounced to the next, THE SINGULARITY reared its once ambiguous head into the dialogue seconds before serialized Japanese Yakuza movies from the 70's.   

A week before this, in a large cafe with a direct path to the Hollywood sign, a man and a women, after a lemonade and espresso chatted about the robotic overlords; one part jest, one part contemplative certainty.  

THE SINGULARITY: no longer relegated to sci-fi dork-hood, or computer scientist savants and futurist with lots of time on their hands.  It is now part of the dialogue. Maybe not with the same rapidity as The Kardashians, but in enough minds to infer that it's manifestation is inevitable. Lets just make sure we can become friendly enough to make room, because our time as the top of the chain is limited.  As Douglas Rushkoff states, "I'm on team human".


what is awake?

"out of insecurity"

"attached" 

"amazing" 

"that being said" 

"you don't have to prove anything to anyone" 

"i got some black in me, I'll fuck a bitch up" 

"she's not stupid, and she works in finance" 

Those were the few phrases I heard late afternoon, while sitting in a downtown LA bar yesterday as two middle aged women raged on about relationships.  It seems one of them was in a revolving door situation, and she mostly remained quiet.  The married one, without any loss of words and an unsettling bravado.  A natural, one might say.

Much later that night, I watched Satoshi Kon's 2006 anime masterwork PAPRIKA.  

Throughout the day, starting as early as my first coffee run, I was told that I looked like someone.  This happened a total of 9 times yesterday.  The people of said doppelgänger lineage, a bewildering and confusing range.

All these things coalesced into one hellish nightmare with a pedantic, but truthful message. Acoustically all those phrases above made entrances.  The rest is too personal and solipsistic to dictate here but I did wake up with a profound insight into my recent life.

We are all fragments of what happens to us, and in reverse, we are also the producers of such happenings.   No separation exists within the dream and the awake.  They are the same expression.  They are like the head and the body, a singular unit.

image.jpg

the in the out....

Book List - Spring 2014

It's been quite a bit of time between updates.  I might be a product of the Gutenberg mind, so please spare my old world behaviors; mainly, the lack of timely, coherent, word driven sentences, outlining, step by step, my recent actions, feelings and general well being.  And, my still intact affinity for old tech book media.

Since we are on the topic of books, here is my recent list.  Two out of three is a rehash, but, as I've only recently discovered, it's much easier to read something the second time around.

I don't have anything else to share. Actually I do, but I'm not in the mood of writing about writing about movies and such.  

Amir's Reading Rainbow as started in Spring and expiring in a few days:

HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES - Joseph Campbell - Second read through
MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS - C.G Jung
THE WAY OF ZEN - Alan Watts - Second read through

Yes, they are thematically themed.

Best,
am

The new record - Meat on Your Lonely Bonez

The new record is out.  Please go over to the itunes store, or bandcamp to pick up a copy.  Playing them in order is preferable.  

Track List:

1.  Dtla
2. Liza
3. Dayz
4. Americaz

Credit:

released 04 February 2014
Produced by Amir Motlagh
Instrumentation, Programing, Vocals & Lyrics by Amir Motlagh
Samples: Love & Fashion - Paper City
Art & Max Sessions at The Matrix
Mix: Amir Motlagh
Mastering: Hans DeKline (Sound Bites Dog)
Art Direction: Amir Motlagh, Ali Sabet
Illustration: Ali Sabet
Publishing & Copyrights 2014 Amir Motlagh / ANIMALS / MIRS

New #MIRS single on Jan 7th, 2014

The second single from the upcoming Mirs, MEAT ON YOUR LONELY BONEZ ep, will be available 
on Jan 7th, 2014.  

Since this is a concept EP, I struggled with the idea of letting them go as singles, but, whatever brah.

Come back in a week and pick it up at your favorite digital store.  The whole EP will be available late Jan or early Feb.  However, i might release another single from it, which will spread the whole item out.  Yes, it is made to play in order, but, I am just one man, in a world full of men.  And women are a whole lot better then men B.

Here is the cover art, done in collaboration with my man man, Ali Sabet.  Check out the rest of his world here.

liza_mirs1400.jpg

 

wass hap-en-in

Friends, hello.  I have not been writing up on this web device on the regular.  Maybe it's a lack of discipline, desire, or time.  It can possible be all of the above.

Irregardless, we have been quietly working on new things.  Many new things to be exact.  I recently directed some web sketches (people get angry if I call them skits) that were handed to me by one of my talented group of writing partners.  They are of the comic variety, something which I am not completely familiar with; but it was a blast, and I got to work with some talented, fun actors.  I'm not naming the project, since it works best without context for now.  

Also, I finished recordings for the new Mirs EP, MEAT ON YOUR LONELY BONEZ.  We haven't set a release date, but, it should be available in the next month or so.  THe second single (LIZA) should be available early Jan.

Lastly, I've been steadily shooting a long length film/media/whatever project since late Oct.  I want to wrap all principal photography by early March.  That's all I'll say about that. 

Now, there are other projects in varies stages of development, but these are the most tangible items.  I hope you guys tune in.

Best,
am

nightmare breaks my little heart.

The palm tree is tall, my first thought.  I look up, and get lost in the turquoise sky.  Where is this green coming from?  It's easy to get lost, I think.  

The blue is forever long, and timelessly deep.  I focus back on the palm tree.  I can understand it, and I can touch it.  That eases the seeping anxiety, that erupted out of the blue, from the smallest moment, from a break from the coffee cup, from a break from the cellphone, from a break from the computer screen.  Nightmare breaks.

the book versus the other plastics.

The book is old analog.  It's technology is without a doubt, one of the most important items in the human catalog.  

Books are the enablers.  The perfect informational passing device.

Almost always a perfect gift.

Books are not CD's.  Books are not DVD's.  Although, people love to include them in there analogies of the death of physical media.  

However, those forms were never necessary to the origins of their own particular media. Cinema needs other devices for transmission.  Music the same.  These forms always change. In many ways, and even with hard earned consumer consistency, they are not standalone.  How many music delivery systems have come and gone?  

The physicality of a book includes all of it.  The written word was always meant to be passed along, in it's final form.  it duplication is always scaleable.  Not from the beginning of course, but still, it could have been duplicated somehow, with errors, money and hard work.

And even though, the scalability of music and cinema can lend itself to other product forms, they will never be perfect.  Because its delivery origins are not seamless.  Music has always been a live format.  Cinema, was birthed in exhibition.  One ticket, one play.  No pause, reverse, repeat.

The book, in it's final physicality is the delivery.  It's a perfect system.  Yes, it can have an uglier digital counterpart, but it's essence is it's form.  And, only for environmental reasons would it ever go away.  

But, that CD you're holding, or that Criterion DVD you just bought, or that new XBOX game you stole, well, that's not going to be around.  So, build your collections now you geeks and nerds.  Show them off to your kids, who will marvel at that lo-fucking fidelity that you and I loved so much.

fear is....

that voice.  you’ve heard it.  no.  really?  it says things very quietly at first.

you might be riding a high, so, it’s hard to tell.  maybe it works too quick?

sit down, it might say.  sip on this water, you’re thirsty.  but, you think to yourself, “no, I’m absolutely not thirsty”.

the feeling starts deep.  in a cavity somewhere inside, a hole, straight down, all the way down, to China maybe.

you can almost reach down and touch it.  it loves amplification.  the echo last’s for hours, days and sometimes years.

and as it works itself up from the abyss, it reigns it's control.  spitting fire, turning the flesh and bone into the lizard it loves.

you’ve become primordial, etched in scales.

tongue and teeth, tail and eyes.  earth is lost, and so is sight.  

lizard brain = yolo

lizard brain = yolo

a thank you to Roger Ebert.

I'm pretty sure everybody that has had, at the very least, a sliver of interest in the movies and the language of cinema has a story to share about Roger Ebert.  

Whether it was about influence, or insight, or passion, or disagreement, Roger Ebert was big time.  

He loved movies so much, that it's inconceivable to think of any figure in these modern times, to exhibit the same anti-cynicism and commitment to cinema.  Almost all of us are in a sort of ambivalent love affair with movies these days.  For all the never ending enthusiasm and commitment to reach higher, there is always the death knell, the Holy Motors sign off.  Which was quite convincing by the way (btw ya’lls).

Somehow, both views fit.  But, it is fitting and sad, that Ebert, along with the rest of the classicist have now passed.  These were figures of what can be now called, "the good old days".  And we can cherish that, because its history has been written.  A place exists for the past.  It has happened, and it was witnessed.  The future however, is always a place of uncertainty.  Anxiety is birthed from the unknown.  And humans, given a dose of evolutionary psychology, always feel mixed about that which cannot be controlled.

The beauty of Ebert was that the man always committed to passionate thinking.  He was not afraid.  Nor was he afraid to change his mind.  

At his older age, he became a king of new media. With twitter, he could troll with the best of them.  His stance against video games as art was legendary.  Here was a man, not afraid of the consequences of thought, nor its expression.  Nor was he scared of being bullied for thinking.

Bombarded by children angered by an opinion, he pressed forward with what I can only assume was a grin.  Remember is beef with Vincent Gallo.  The man didn't back down from insults.  A classic game of "yo momma".  And he did this with a smile.  That's respectable. That’s heart.  

And no other critic could circumnavigate the mainstream all the while, championing the independent quite like Ebert. Who will ever have that leverage?  Who will ever care enough?

What a sincere love of something.  It was poetic to witness.  RIP Roger Ebert and thank you.  My mother thanks you.  She loved you.  

See you at the movies; home theater actually, because we all know that's where this is all leading, right?

gritty handheld style it is not, asshole.

After watching a recent Hollywood film lauded as one of the great achievements of the year (the year would be last), I did what I do when I can't seem to figure out the hype from the fact.  At the very least, my facts against mediocrity.

So, I turned into some reviews to hear the voice of the critic.  Now, I only do this after the movie.  Mostly, just to gauge the critical zeitgeist and maybe to pick up on points that I neglected, or tuned out possibly due to bias.  In fact, often, I want to be proved wrong.  I want to be moved to believe that the movie was a masterpiece and I was just being an asshole, or plainly, ignorant.

So, after flipping through a couple of these eloquent reviews, one phrase stood out from the rest, breathing fire into the cultural void of existence. "Gritty handheld style" was this very phrase.  

Everytime I read something so asinine, I want to stop and call out to my maker.  But the fact that this was repeated in no less then 5 reviews in back to back succession makes me think, that sometimes, people are in a haze of automation, devoid of anything critical, analytical, or imaginative.  

Gritty handheld style in this particular case was nothing at all gritty.  What the fuck does this describe?  Realism?  Well, in this particular case, not at all.  Does it describe fortitude or determination.  No.  50 million dollars with the best technical minds around making fiction never ever fucking equates to GRITTY.  Ever.  (well, actually, there are a couple cases historically.  this is not one.  and I'm assuming, the budget never crossed the 25million mark) 

What it does describe however, is that all these clowns picked up the same description from wherever the hell, like 10 years ago, and decided to use it again, and again, and again, and thus removing any descriptive quality about it, in favor of press releasing a review.  In today's language, this just fucking blows.

I call for an indefinite ban, and personal banishment for any hee-haw that uses the phrase, "gritty handheld style" to describe anything related to a film.  They can however, use it to describe their latest iphone video of there cat licking its nuts.  As long as the phone is not locked down on a tripod, and that it is in fact, gritty by definition.